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2014: February

This month we give our opinions on how to make the politicians listen, wonder about Scottish independence and praise our contesting diversity

Making the politicians listen

When it comes to trying to pin down a politician of any political colour for help, it usually results in them telling you everything you want to hear in support your aims and objectives, but nothing that they will actually do to assist you in meeting them.

It is an expert form of invisible succour that invariably amounts to a great deal of rhetoric and very little else. 

How Brass Bands England can therefore translate a highly encouraging start to their renewed efforts to persuade MPs into substantive activism on behalf of the brass band movement through the setting up of a new Parliamentary Group, is the key to its prospects of future success. 

Previous attempts at political representation at Westminster have been inept, leaving the brass band movement nothing more than a patronised laughing stock. 

Thankfully, BBE is now led by a man who understands how the body politic works and is ably assisted by another who is expert in the lingua franca of the government apparatchiks who hold the purse strings for all important funding streams. 

Mike Kilroy and Roy Terry have one heck of a task on their hands to repair years of embarrassing amateurism. We should all offer them our wholehearted and proactive support.  

Perhaps then, the politicians may just be forced to do more than politely nod their heads and offer meaningless platitudes.

What do you think?
Send an email to: comments@4barsrest.com 


Open Scottish borders

Some people it seems are wondering just what might happen to the future make up of UK banding if Scotland decides to opt for political independence.

Will Alex Salmond stop Scottish bands competing at the ‘Nationals’ in London or Cheltenham, or will he just let them get on with it - sending representatives down each year, as they have always done to try and claim some silverware?

You suspect that whatever decision is made by the Scots come voting day, brass band independence hasn’t been foremost in their minds when scouring any political party’s manifesto priorities.

The Nationals have always been inclusive (and the clever Scots already run their own ‘National’ Championship  anyway - which just happens to also send bands to compete at the Albert Hall and Cheltenham) - so whatever the outcome on September 18th, you suspect a break-up of the brass band ‘union’ is not going to happen anytime soon.

What do you think?
Send an email to: comments@4barsrest.com 


In praise of contesting diversity

There are many things that need radical overhaul in the brass band contest environment - but the element that remains core to its survival and appeal is its amazing variety.

Test piece, own choice, entertainment, march & hymn tune, set work/own choice, open adjudication or closed, points or placings, promotion and relegation - the variations on the genre are as simple, complex or numerous as an event promoter wishes them to be.

As a result there is a format to suit any band almost anywhere and at any time in the banding world - from holiday camps to symphony halls.    

We may well bemoan a lack of prize money, registration anomalies,  increased entry fees and even judges decisions each time we compete, but there cannot be a single person who can say the banding movement isn’t spoilt for musical choice as to how best we choose to perform competitively.

Long may it continue. 

What do you think?
Send an email to: comments@4barsrest.com 



The Brighouse & Rastrick Band - EYMS Brass Band at Hull City Hall

Saturday 20 January • Hull City Hall. 67 Carr Lane,. Kingston upon Hull HU1 3RQ


Black Dyke Band - Morley Town Hall

Saturday 20 January • Morley Town Hall, Morley, Leeds LS27 8DX


Wantage Silver - Gary Curtin

Saturday 20 January • Reading Central Salvation Army RG1 7JR


The Hepworth Band - Soprano Sarah Ogden

Sunday 21 January • Christ Church, Sude Hill, New Mill, Holmfirth HD9 7BL


The Fairey Band -

Sunday 21 January • The Hawth Theatre. Hawth Avenue. Crawley. RH10 6YZ RH106YZ


Strata Brass

January 20 • Bb/Eb BASS.Rehearsals SUN/WED,bandroom 5 mins from J35/36 M1 (Hoyland).. Yorkshire 1st Section under dynamic MD Jonathan Bates (Solo Horn - Fodens Band).. Sensible concert/contest schedule.


Sandhurst Community Brass

January 20 • We would be delighted to hear from any tenor horn players who are looking to join an enthusiastic, very friendly band. Any other players can apply, we can find a space for you


Ilkeston Brass

January 20 • We are looking for a Tenor and Bass Trombone plus 1st Baritone. All other positions are always welcome.. Under MD Geoff Hawley we have a sensible mix of concerts and a few contests per year. . Rehearsals Thursday and Sunday evenings just off M1 J25/26.


Christopher Houlding

MMus, GGSM, LRAM
Conductor, Performer, Educator